Northvolt, the Swedish EV battery maker, has announced the development of a sodium-ion battery that could potentially power coming generations of electric vehicles without using costly and scarce raw materials.
According to a company press release, “Northvolt’s validated cell is more safe, cost-effective, and sustainable than conventional nickel, manganese, and cobalt or iron phosphate chemistries and is produced with minerals such as iron and sodium that are abundant on global markets.
The company said that the sodium-ion technology underpinning the new battery will serve for now as the foundation for Northvolt’s “next-generation energy storage solutions.”
According to Bloomberg, though the first sodium-ion cells are designed primarily for energy storage plants, coming iterations may be able to deliver higher levels of energy needed to power electric vehicles. Bloomberg wrote that Northvolt is increasing its battery production in Sweden and has plans to build factories in both Germany and Canada.
Since its founding in 2016, the company has raised more than $9 billion in both equity and debt and has generated more than $55 billion in orders for its batteries from automakers including BMW, Volvo, and Volkswagen. The company has said it plans to go public, though it hasn’t given a date.
Neuralink raises $43M from group led by Peter Thiel’s venture fund
Neuralink gets plenty of media attention because of the ambitious declarations of its famous founder, Elon Musk. In recent years, the man who launched Tesla and SpaceX has said that Neuralink’s devices, which can be implanted in a human skull, can eventually help blind people regain their eyesight and cure various neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Apparently, a lot of Silicon Valley smart money is taking Musk seriously. Last week, TechCrunch reported that Neuralink has raised an additional $43 million in venture capital led by Founders Fund, which famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel oversees, according to an SEC filing.
Founded in 2016, Fremont, Calif.-based Neuralink has developed a device that can implant thin threads inside a patient’s skull that are connected to a chip that contains electrodes. According to TechCrunch, “brain-signal-reading implants are a decades-old technology but Neuralink’s ostensible innovation lies in making the implants wireless and increasing the number of implanted electrodes.” The company’s last-known valuation, as of August 2023, was $3.45 billion.
Figure is seeking an IPO for its lending arm
Like many other startups, fintech company Figure Technologies is eyeing the IPO market – but only for one of its business lines.
Last week, Bloomberg reported that the company is working with several investment banks on taking its lending arm, Lendco, public in the first half of 2024 at a valuation of between $2 billion to $3 billion. Lendco specializes in mortgage financing and bridge loans. “No final decision has been made and the timing and valuation of the IPO could change,” Bloomberg added. Bloomberg also reported that Figure’s digital asset arm, which would remain private, is seeking to raise an additional $50 million.
San Francisco-based Figure was founded in 2018 by its CEO, Mike Cagney, a successful tech entrepreneur who also started SoFi Technologies, an online personal-finance company that went public in 2021 via a SPAC and has a market cap of roughly $7 billion. Figure’s last known valuation, as of May 2021, was $3.3 billion.